Fort Worth

Bodies of Fort Worth couple who died in Fiji to soon be sent back to the U.S.

Young Texas couple die from unidentified illness in Fiji

Authorities in Fiji said Tuesday that a young Texas couple vacationing in the South Pacific country died from an unidentified illness. The couple, David and Michelle Paul, were from Fort Worth.
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Authorities in Fiji said Tuesday that a young Texas couple vacationing in the South Pacific country died from an unidentified illness. The couple, David and Michelle Paul, were from Fort Worth.

Although their deaths remain a mystery, the bodies of David and Michelle Paul will soon be headed back to the U.S.

The Fort Worth couple died more than a month ago on vacation in Fiji of an unidentifiable illness that left them vomiting for hours and dehydrated. But the Fiji funeral home handling the bodies has said David and Michelle are ready to be prepared to transport to America, according to David’s mother, Marsha Paul, 65.

They will be sent to Las Vegas, she said, where there will later be a funeral and burial. Las Vegas is where Michelle’s father, Marc Calanog, lives, as well as where David spent years on an Air Force Base and watched all of his children be born, Marsha said.

Calanog was the one who received an email from the funeral home, she said, which he forwarded to her. The message indicates the bodies could be back within a week. Marsha said she hopes the funeral could be held within a week after that.

Then, she said, she might be able to have some closure.

“Typically people get that closure in three to four days. We haven’t had that at all and I don’t know when we will actually have that,” she said. “Maybe after the funeral, we’ll start to have a little bit of closure.”

The Centers for Disease Control, which has been investigating the deaths, announced on June 21 there were no signs David and Michelle died of an infectious disease based on the results of initial testing done on specimens from Fiji. Also, in early June, The Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services ruled out the flu as a possible cause of death.

Calanog has said if an infectious disease was what killed them, the bodies would have to have been cremated before shipment, or put inside hermetically sealed bags. But, with no signs of an infectious disease, the bodies can return home.

Calanog said in early June that David’s employer, Lockheed Martin, and Michelle’s employer, Marriott, were working together to ensure the bodies return home safely and to handle the funeral service.

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